I am frequently asked by companies whether they should hire a social media firm to handle their social presence or if they should go it on their own. This is no simple question, but rather one that should be considered by every company regardless of size. The answers are equally as challenging due to the many variables that must be evaluated.
My motivation for this post is to provide some simple points that will help you evaluate your ability to successfully manage a social media marketing effort on your own. More importantly, I will provide you with some analogies and information that will highlight the importance of your decision.
I have often said “It is better to NOT conduct social media marketing for a business if you are going to do it wrong”. The resulting damage to your company could prove to be a major mistake. Do it right, hire a talented social media firm to manage it with you, or don’t do it at all.
Having said that, the flip side is equally as ugly. Not having an effective presence in the social graph for your company, could result in a similarly damaging outcome. Social media is a marathon, not a sprint. The gun went off years ago and your competitors are already in the race. What’s worse is that you have not even started your training or stretching. You haven’t hired a professional coach or athlete to ensure you are in the race, let alone staying with the lead pack. Furthermore, consumers are all in social media now. If you aren’t, you have a problem.
Here are some indicators that you may need to hire a social media firm to help you:
- You have fewer than 2000 TARGETED followers on Twitter.
- You have fewer than 200 fans on your Facebook Fanpage.
- You don’t know what the acronym DM means.
- You have fewer than 20 conversations on Twitter each day.
- You post fewer than 15 selfless articles, blogs, etc. that provide value to your Twitter audience per day.
- You post less than 1 selfless article, blog, etc. that provide value to your Fanpage audience per day.
- You take more than 2 hours to respond to Twitter or Facebook comment.
- You see fewer than 3 new customers, inquiries or walkins per week directly attributed to your social media efforts.
- You don’t know what #FF or RT means.
- You don’t have a list of customers, prospects and influencers you engage with weekly and mention on Follow Friday.
- You don’t have either Hootsuite or Tweetdeck running on both your desktop AND smart phone.
- You read and retweet fewer than 5 posts of your followers daily.
Though some of these statements are elementary, if you can identify with more than 7, I suggest you seek out a social media management firm or consultant to help you build a strategy, manage your program and lead you to return on investment. Social media management, social content management and relationship building within the social graph requires a few things: knowledge, experience and a lot of time. Do yourself a favor and seek help from a social media professional if you need it.
If you need some suggestions of whom to talk to about outsourcing your program, feel free to connect with me and I will refer you to some top-notch folks in your area.